TECgirls Sandbox Magazine - Issue 1 - Spring 2020

Page 1


magazine Make your own digital art win a micro:bit kit Explore how lithium works

discover tecgirls live ‌and meet the awesome TECgirls Mentors

Issue 01

spring 2020

welcome to sandbox magazine the magazine for TEC girls

Sandbox is the official magazine of TECgirls, celebrating all things tech, engineering and digital creativity for girls aged 6-12. Explore, make, design, code and discover with us!


Editor Fiona Campbell-Howes

A note to parents, guardians, and educators

Across the UK, there’s a lack of women in the Technology, Engineering and Creative sectors. We founded TECgirls at the end of 2019 with the aim of helping girls as young as 6 realise that TEC can be a girl thing. Through this magazine, our website and our events, we want to encourage young girls to join in with TEC clubs and activities around Cornwall – and maybe consider a future career in the TEC industries. You can learn more about TECgirls – and see how you can get involved – at www.tecgirls.co.uk.

Contributors Una C, Lizzie Cresswell, Caitlin Gould, Eliza H, Emily King, Jane Orme, Emilia R Design and illustration Venn Creative, Louise Hannaford Special thanks Cornwall College, Sean McManus, Spaceport Cornwall, Software Cornwall, Bluefruit Software, Truro and Penwith College, CIoS Digital Skills Partnership, Headforwards, Agile on the Beach

Caitlin Gould

Jane Orme

Emily King

Fiona Campbell-Howes

Get in touch sandbox@tecgirls.co.uk




What’s inside? Page 8-9

Make your own algorithmic art with Scratch… And your own pixel art with a pencil!

Page 4-5

Discover TECgirls LIVE …and meet the awesome TECgirls Mentors

Page 14-15

How it works: Lithium The mysterious metal that’s driving the low-carbon future

Page 16-17

Page 10-11

I want to be a… Tech Entrepreneur See what it’s like to run your own app business

Page 12-13 Space: Cornwall’s new frontier Could you be Cornwall’s next space pioneer?

Page 6-7

Show us your project (and win a micro:bit kit)! Una gets creative with Arduino, and Emilia brings Vikings to Minecraft

Meet the real-life unicorns Three women taking the world of tech by storm 3

Page 18

More fun with TEC Cool TEC stuff you can do online today

INTRODUCING TEC GIRLS LIVE Where can you build and launch a rocket ship, code a rainbow, make your own music machine, create your own animation, and race a robot around an obstacle course – all in the same day? The answer: TECgirls LIVE – an epic day of technology, engineering and digital creativity for girls aged 6-12. Make your own music machine!

Our first free event will take place in Truro later this year (coronavirus permitting!) We’ve planned a full day of activities for girls from across Cornwall to come together to play, learn and explore – with plenty of help from the TECgirls team and our awesome mentors.

Build a skyscraper from a single newspaper!

Launch a rocket using Python!

If you miss the first one, don’t worry, there will be more! Keep an eye on www.tecgirls.co.uk/ events for updates, and to find out about other TEC activities taking place around Cornwall.


MEET THE TEC GIRLS MENTORS TECgirls mentors are girls aged 13-18 who love tech, engineering and digital creativity, and want to inspire younger girls to explore the world of TEC, too. Our team of mentors help out at TECgirls events and help to design future activities. Here are three of the team – they’re looking forward to meeting you at a TECgirls event soon!

Emily, 15 School: Camborne Science and International Academy (CSIA) I got interested in technology from playing videogames – and now I’m on the NEXUS programme at CSIA, which encourages us to study a lot of STEM topics. When I’m older I’d like to work as a games designer or developer, or in digital animation.

Imogen, 13

Niamh, 13

School: Penryn College

School: Penryn College

I learned to code when I was younger – we had a code club at my school in Saudi Arabia. I loved coding but I didn’t like the way it was taught – they made it really boring! At Penryn College there are a few code clubs, including one just for girls. I’d like to work in digital games when I’m older.

I’ve been into coding since we learned Scratch in Year 3. I joined the girls’ code club at Penryn College, where I met Imogen – and now we’ve joined the other code clubs too. I love maths, and at Penryn we get access to maths events and challenges run by Exeter Mathematics School.


show us your project

Electronics with Arduino Tell us about your project I used an Arduino to control a stepper motor to move a 3D-printed Minecraft block forwards and backwards using a joystick. Where did you get the idea for it? I saw a similar design online and wanted to try and make it my way. What did you use to make it? I used an Arduino, lots of wires, a stepper motor, some screws and a 3D printer. How long did it take? Saturday afternoon How easy was it to make? It wasn’t that easy – the first time I tried it, I put a wire in the wrong place!

Una, age 10 What do you like most about it? That it challenges me to get my brain thinking. What do you think you will make next – and why? A maths game on Scratch so it will help me with my times tables.

Wait, what?

An Arduino is an easy-to-use electronics platform that you can program to do different things – like activate a motor or turn on an LED light. Find out more at arduino.cc

more projects There’s more activities to try, visit our blog for more information. www.tecgirls.co.uk/blog


Win a micro:bit starter kit worth £37.50! Do you have a making or coding project you’d like to show to other readers? Tell us about it and you could win a micro:bit starter kit! Email sandbox@tecgirls.co.uk with answers to the questions on this page, and two images of your project. If we feature it next time, we’ll send you a kit. Find out more: microbit.org

This competition is open to girls aged 6-12 living in Cornwall. Please send details of just one project, by Tuesday 30th June. We’ll contact you in July to let you know if your project has been chosen.

Minecraft history

How easy was it to make? Not too difficult, but not super easy. I had to do lots of research for it, but it was fun to build. What do you like most about it? I like it because it’s not just some random village that I didn’t spend much time or effort on, it’s quite historically accurate, I did lots of research for it, it looks nice and I enjoyed building it. What do you think you will make next – and why? A Minecraft skyscraper. I have an educational book on building a city in Minecraft, and in it there’s a skyscraper. But theirs is too short, in my opinion. So I’ve just started building a skyscraper so tall, the game won’t let me build it higher!

Emilia, age 11 Tell us about your project It’s a small Viking village history project on Minecraft. Where did you get the idea for it? I was studying Vikings at the time. What did you use to make it? Minecraft on my laptop. I also used history books and websites to learn about how Vikings lived. How long did it take? A few days, including research about Vikings because I wanted it to be as accurate as possible.


make your own... Algorithmic Art! Unleash the creative genius in your computer with Abstract Artist, a Scratch project that makes a random, continuously changing artwork. You can build this project using Scratch, either in your browser or installed on your computer. It’s free! If you haven’t used Scratch before, download the PDF sampler of Scratch Programming in Easy Steps at www.sean.co.uk/downloads/ for help getting started.

1. Start a new project and add the script below to your cat sprite. It makes the cat glide to random points on the screen, while hidden.

4. Before you can use the Pen blocks you need to add the Pen extension. Use the button in the bottom left of the Blocks Palette to add it now. 5. Add a new sprite (it doesn’t

matter which) and give it the second script on this page.

2. Right-click the cat sprite

in the Sprite List and click Duplicate. Now there are two invisible, prowling cats.

3. Paint a new backdrop, and fill it with a solid dark colour, to make the brightly-coloured art really pop out.

The script makes it flit between the two invisible cats, drawing a line in a new colour each time. 6. Remix! You can make very

different artworks by changing how the invisible cats move across the Stage, by adding in other sprites that the painting sprite can hop between, or by adjusting how the pen colours change.


About this project This project is from the new 2nd Edition of Scratch Programming in Easy Steps by Sean McManus, and appears here courtesy of the publisher. Find out more about the book at www.sean.co.uk

PIXEL ART! If you don’t have a computer to hand, you can still make digital art. You just need some colouring pens or pencils – and your imagination! Videogames from 30 years ago had a very different art style. Characters and levels had simple designs because computers couldn’t handle very detailed images. Games companies designed their “sprites” (characters) in a blocky, pixel form – but they always managed to make them look unique. The unicorn sprite on the right should give you a good idea of how it works – and we’ve included some other examples here, too. Ready to have a go? Download and print our pixel art activity sheet, grab your pencils, and fire up your imagination! You could make pixel art of your favourite character from a TV show, videogame, film or book. Or how about designing a sprite for your very own videogame? Download the activity sheet

Pixel art by Shepardskin

Pixel art by Disthron


I WANT TO BE A... TECH ENTREPRENEUR Did you know? Falmouth was recently voted the 3rd best place in the UK to become a young entrepreneur!

Do you know what kind of job you’d like to have when you’re older? Here’s some inspiration!

Tech entrepreneurs spot a problem in the world, and solve it with technology. For Tanuvi and Erin, that problem was loooooooong queues at attractions like the Eden Project. Queuing is boring when you just want to have fun. So Tanuvi and Erin built an app that sends people to do different things at different times. Result – no queues, and everyone is happier!

Thinking challenge What problem would you solve with technology? What would you use, and how would it work?

How did you turn your idea into a tech business? Erin: We joined a programme at Falmouth University called Launchpad, which helps people to start their own business. Did you always want to be a tech entrepreneur? Tanuvi: I wanted to be a vet, but I faint at the sight of blood! Erin: I wanted to be an air hostess. Or a racing driver. 10

More Launchpad Tanuvi and Erin’s app helps people find interesting things to do at the Eden Project.


Raphaella runs Plotty, a site that helps gardeners exchange seeds and grow their own food. www.plotty.co.uk

What were your favourite subjects at school? Erin: At school I liked art, music and history. Then at university I studied digital animation and visual effects. It means I can bring lots of creative ideas to the business. Tanuvi: A Year 9 history lesson about the Great Depression got me really interested in economics. Then I realised you need maths to understand economics, so I focused on maths too. Georgia and Johanne run Polargryph, a game studio that’s developing a 3D adventure game. www.polargryph.com

What’s the most exciting thing about running a tech company? Erin: You get to do different things every day – and you get to travel a lot and meet new people. Tanuvi: We won a competition and the award was presented by astronaut Tim Peake. That was a fantastic moment. www.dataduopoly.com

Georgie runs Roamey, an app that helps people find fun things to do, wherever they are. www.roamey.com

visit our blog For more interviews like this, visit our blog! www.tecgirls.co.uk/blog


MEET THE (Real-Life) Unicorns They’re rare, unique and seem almost magical – but unlike the mythical beasts, business unicorns really do exist. A ‘unicorn’ is a word for a startup company that experts think could be worth a LOT of money – over a billion dollars, in fact! Unicorn companies are rare, but you may have heard of some of them. Famous unicorns include Snapchat, Instagram and Amazon. They’re so popular that they’re considered to be very valuable.

Unicorn women

Lots of today’s unicorns were founded by women. Have a look at these three!


Co-founded by: Poppy Gustafsson What it does Think about when you get a cold. Your immune system fights the cold, and you get better. Darktrace is like an immune system for computers. Its software fights off computer viruses and online attacks by criminals. Big companies use Darktrace to keep their computers and data safe. Founder facts • Poppy studied maths at school and later trained to be an accountant • She co-founded Darktrace when she was 30 years old • She’s led Darktrace to huge success – it’s only 7 years old and already worth $1.65 billion! 12

Thinking challenge Could you start a unicorn company? What products would you make, and who would buy them? What would you need to do to be successful?


Co-founded by: Holly Liu What it does Kabam creates massive multiplayer social games. (And they’re really popular.) Nearly all of Kabam’s games are for smartphones, and millions of people play them every day. Some of their most successful games are Marvel Contest of Champions and The Hobbit: Kingdoms of Middle-earth.


Founder facts • Holly worked with other founders to start and build Kabam • She created the Kingdoms of Camelot game and was one of its lead designers • She’s an experienced game designer, and one of the most important women in gaming

Co-founded by: Emily Weiss

What it does Glossier is an online beauty company – and a very successful digital business. Over 200 people work at Glossier. Product designers and chemists create the makeup, while digital designers make the packaging. Plus, there are loads of other people making YouTube videos, running social media campaigns, designing the website, and so on.

Wait, what?

A startup is a new company that’s trying to do something different or innovative. Because of this, it doesn’t always make money straight away. To keep the company going, the founders might ask for seed funding. This is money from other people, or a bank, that will help them grow. It can be as little as a few hundred pounds, or as much as a few million!

Founder facts • Emily began her career as an assistant at • Teen Vogue • She started Glossier in her 20s by selling products from her blog! • Glossier is run by an all-women team – and it was funded by women, too. 13

HOW IT WORKS... LITHIUM The world is facing a climate emergency – and part of the solution could be right beneath our feet here in Cornwall. Fossil fuels are making the earth hotter To stop the planet from warming, we need to stop burning fossil fuels like coal, oil, petrol and diesel. They release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, causing it to heat up. The cars of the future are electric Scientists and engineers are working hard to find new sources of energy that don’t release so much carbon dioxide. We’ve learned to turn energy from waves, wind and the sun into electricity. And we’ve designed cars that run on electricity, rather than petrol or diesel.

Electric cars need batteries… But there’s a problem: you can’t drive a car while it’s plugged in. Imagine how long the cable would have to be, and how many there would be! Every road would be like a massive plate of spaghetti.

Old mining maps contain clues When miners were digging for tin and copper in Cornwall in the 19th century, they sometimes came across hot salty water deep in the mines, and they drew maps showing where they found it.

Just like a smartphone or laptop, an electric car needs a rechargeable battery to store electricity, so it can drive when it’s not plugged in.

Today, geologists are using these old miners’ maps to rediscover the hot salty springs underneath Cornwall.

…and batteries need lithium Electric car batteries are made of lots of different metals, but the main one is lithium – and that’s where Cornwall comes in. Lithium is buried deep underground Like all metals, lithium is found underground. It’s found in rocks or in hot salty springs – called brines – that circulate far below the earth’s surface.


Exploring for lithium in Cornwall At United Downs, near Redruth, they’re bringing the water up to the surface to see how much lithium it contains. If there’s a lot, they’ll start to extract it, so it can be used to make batteries for electric cars and other low-carbon technologies. Just think – next time you travel in an electric car, it could be running on a battery made with lithium from Cornwall!

Wait, what? A geologist is a scientist who studies what the earth is made of.

3 Questions with Lucy Crane Lucy is a senior geologist working at Cornish Lithium.

What do you do in your job? I’m part of a team turning old mine maps into 3D models, so we can see where to look for lithium. We digitise the paper maps and then make them 3D using software called Leapfrog.


What do you love about it? I love that we’re helping to combat climate change. Lithium is found in hot water, and we’re looking for ways to use the heat to power the processing plant. That would be very green.

1991 Sony is the first company to use rechargeable lithium batteries, putting them in mobile phones

2008 Tesla launches the world’s first lithium battery-powered electric car – the Tesla Roadster

Did you always want to be a geologist? Oh gosh no! I loved science and maths, but I thought geology was just looking at rocks. Then I realised it’s about understanding the world and what everything is made of. From then on, I loved it.

2019 Cornish Lithium gains permission to look for lithium in Cornwall


SPACE: Cornwall’s new frontier Space isn’t just about being an astronaut anymore – even though that’s still an amazing job to have! New technologies will soon let us do loads more things in space – from mining asteroids, to testing medical treatments in microgravity, to monitoring endangered species, to growing food on the moon.

Satellites will be launched from Newquay in a specially-designed plane called Cosmic Girl, run by a company called Virgin Orbit.

A spaceport in Cornwall Cornwall is leading the way. At the end of 2021, Cornwall Airport Newquay will be the first place in the UK to launch satellites into space – in a project called Spaceport Cornwall.





Wait, what?

Microgravity is very weak gravity that occurs in space. It’s why astronauts on the International Space Station don’t walk on the floor, but float around inside the spacecraft.


Do you want to be part of Cornwall’s exciting future in space? Come along to a TECgirls LIVE event and start learning the skills you need to be a space pioneer. www.tecgirls.co.uk/events


Space ideas wanted! This means there will soon be lots of exciting jobs in the space industry in Cornwall. But you don’t have to wait until you’re older to get involved. Cornish pupils are already winning awards for their ideas on how to use satellite data from space.

Ellie, Jessica, Summer and Emily won a prize for their ‘Surf Safe’ idea

In 2018, a team from Richard Lander School in Truro won a £7,500 prize from the UK Space Agency for their ‘Surf Safe’ idea. It’s a wristband that uses satellite location technology data to keep sea users safe. A team from the Roseland Academy in Tregony won a £5,000 prize for their idea of an illness tracker. It’s an app that uses satellite data to map and model the spread of infectious disease worldwide.

Ella, Eleanor and Maddie won a prize for their illness tracker idea

Learn to be a marine engineer – at Cornwall College Meet Catherine, a qualified marine engineer. She studied History at first, but then decided she wanted to do something different. She joined a Level 3 Light Marine Engineering course at Cornwall College – and now she’s working in Greece for a sailing holiday company. “I got a job with Sunsail at the College’s industry day. There’s something different to do every day, and I’m learning new skills in marine engineering. It’s fantastic that the course led directly to a job in the marine industry.”


more fun with tec

Want to have more fun with coding, electronics and digital art? Here are some brilliant – and free! – things you can do online.

Start coding with Scratch You only need a computer and an internet connection to code with Scratch. Go to scratch.mit. edu and click ‘Start Creating’ – you’ll soon be coding your own games, animations and digital art. scratch.mit.edu Build an app with MIT App Inventor Build your first app in just 30 minutes – all you need is a computer, an internet connection, and access to a smartphone or tablet. Just go to appinventor.mit.edu and click on ‘Get Started’. appinventor.mit.edu

micro:bit If you have access to a micro:bit computer, you can start experimenting with coding for electronics. The micro:bit has LEDs and sensors that you can use to create animations, night lights, temperature sensors and more. Go to microbit.org and click on ‘Get Started’.

MORE resources There’s a wealth of free online lessons available on the Explore electronics with BBC BBC Bitesize website. Click the links to get started.

key stage 1

key stage 2

until next time

Look out for the Summer issue of Sandbox Magazine, where we’ll be exploring all things space! If you have an idea or a message for us – or if you’d like to write something for the Sandbox – we’d love to hear from you. Just email our editor Fiona at sandbox@tecgirls.co.uk. Bye for now!

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